Three Gals Try New Area at Holter for Hiking, Seeing Bighorns, Snake
Bighorn sheep, a dead deer, pair of American kestrels, hawks and wildflowers--yes it is spring, and three GiG gals had a beautiful warm-weather hike at Holter lake.
We started at 8 a.m. and got on trail by 10. We were treated to a flower show: pasque, fritillary/yellow bells, shooting stars, phlox, douglasia, nine-leaved biscuitroot, alyssum, Wyoming kitten tails and sumac.
The trail starts up going uphill to a ridge, but we went off trail to the top of a knob; we named it Rattler Peak since Katie saw a rattle snake. She heard it and then saw it coiled up under a rock, waiting to strike. As she backed away, the snake did too, retreating into its den under an overhanging rock. From then on, we were very cautious around the rocks and tapped our poles on those we had to go by on the trail. Luckily, we didn't see any others. But we did come across a deer carcass and then higher up, the a hide that we figured was from the carcass that a cat probably dragged.
At the top, we had a snack, but not wanting to take off our packs or sit down for fear of ticks (we never did see one, thank goodness). We enjoyed the views over the lake, marveled at the erosion of silt into the sides of the lake and marveled at the back side of the Sleeping Giant.
Then we dropped down the mountainside to the Log Gulch campground to have our lunch at the nice picnic tables there. We even had nice outhouses for our use. We talked to a ranger there, who was getting prepared for the summer season. He informed us that there were some changes to the campground, trying to alleviate some of the partying in the past. He also said some of the sites would be reservation now, so people didn't have to rely on first-come, first-served. We told him about the rattler and he knew about it. He also mentioned mountain lions, which furthered our thoughts about the carcass we saw earlier.
Then we headed back uphill to return on a loop trail to the Juniper campground. Along the way, we happened upon five bighorn sheep, all females and yearlings.
The day was gorgeous with clear blue skies with fluffy white puffy clouds.